TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday watch; tunnel-tolling eve; Water Taxi notes …

(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)

6:52 AM: Good morning! Lots of info to start with:

TUNNEL: This is your last toll-free Highway 99 tunnel day – tolling starts 5 am Saturday. … The north side of the tunnel, however, is scheduled to be closed 10 pm tonight to 8 am Saturday.

WATER TAXI: Two answers to reader questions – First, no Sunday runs for the Sounders‘ MLS Cup match; second, they’re hoping to have the Doc Maynard back on the run by next Tuesday – still waiting on a part for the Sally Fox.

HOLIDAY MONDAY: No Water Taxi service Monday, since it’s Veterans Day. No school; Metro buses will be on a “reduced weekday” schedule.

27 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday watch; tunnel-tolling eve; Water Taxi notes ..."

  • GatewoodGuy November 8, 2019 (7:50 am)

    I finally received my first batch of documents related to my public disclosure request from WSDOT (I’m still waiting on SDOT and Metro regarding removal and reinstallation of the 99N bus only lane. So what does this first batch show? Well back in March, in an email with the subject line “Current Configuration Is Saving Time Over The Previous Configuration”, WSDOT engineers reported that general purpose traffic (non-transit) had experienced an average seven minute savings between West Seattle and the stadiums as a result of the removal of the bus-only lane. Though the email doesn’t specify how much time buses saved, it notes that they too saved time, and that “…they do take advantage of the improved conditions on the bridge, the free flow loop ramp, and don’t have to contend with the friction-related slowing caused by slow GP traffic on 99. I think the loop ramp will naturally throttle traffic into the future, preserving the bus speeds without hampering GP lanes with a big merge after the ramp.”Boy, that really sounds like something that needs “fixing” doesn’t it? More to come as I get more documents. 

    • Gene November 8, 2019 (8:36 am)

      This is WSDOT engineers report-from March-hmm-so all the folks posting on the blog-emailing & writing about about backups -before & after configurations are what-lying, exaggerating-what? Seems like a real difference of opinion-Commuters ( car or bus) most of whom are on the road daily-vs WSDOT engineers who calculate how? Are they watching via camera-seeing back-ups into WS? Maybe so-but determine cause is something other than bus lane?  For me-more details are needed.  Do these public disclosure documents provide those ? Yes-I’m probably unusually skeptical where government is concerned. 

      • GatewoodGuy November 8, 2019 (9:11 am)

        I’m not sure you got the gist of my comment: the report from March showed that removing the bus lane was better for both bus and non-transit traffic. There was also a graph included. I’ll try to find a way to post the actual documents, on a google group or something later today. 

        • Gene November 8, 2019 (10:34 am)

          Thanks for follow-up-yes I did misunderstand.

    • Shawn November 8, 2019 (8:38 am)

      Correlation does not equal causation. Suggesting the removal of a bus lane will somehow make the busses run faster is not only absurd, it is disingenuous and counterproductive.  As a regular C rider I would be furious if they removed that lane now. If folks actually wanted traffic to improve in a meaningful way, they should support more bus lanes, not less. Well that and they should have voted against the car tab initiative. Thankfully that is almost certainly unconstitutional, but the vote result tells me a majority of folks think traffic is wonderful and not a problem at all. That I find very strange.

      • GatewoodGuy November 8, 2019 (9:09 am)

        People who love to throw out the cliche “correlation doesn’t equal causation” are a distinct personality type, usually trying to tell you that something fairly obvious to everyone must be doubted and usually convinced of their own superior intellect. I’ve literally quoted an email from WSDOT which measured bus and general traffic times between December and March from the West Seattle Bridge and the Stadiums and attributed the improved times for both buses and cars to the removal of the bus lane. Please tell us all what you have to offer to cast this in doubt. We’re all awaiting your no doubt well informed response! 

        • TSurly November 8, 2019 (10:12 am)

          Drivers are the problem, failing to use the entire merge land not allowing those trying to merge get over. Start putting the blame where it belongs; on selfish, entitled car drivers who don’t give an inch to others on the road. Had a nice run downtown to work this morning. The fog felt great, but required me to wipe my glasses every minute or so. 

          • Seriously22 November 8, 2019 (2:25 pm)

            You guys live to beat up on car drivers but then complain that i976 means less money from car drivers for transit. So you want our car tab money but don’t want us to drive lol.  We get it – you’re a super human that bikes and runs to work, and all the people driving their cars can never attain your level of enlightenment. We’re just a bunch of entitled and selfish people and will never be able to pet that high horse you ride around on :(

      • sw November 8, 2019 (9:37 am)

        Thus far, King County has voted “no” on 971.  I guarantee you that folks think traffic is an issue.  Remember that was a statewide initiative, and Eyman counted on Spokane, Kennewick, Wenatchee and many other cities to carry the vote.  The traffic issues were obvious after the bus lane was configured – that cannot be denied.  At this point, none of the governing bodies will say a thing until after the toll is in effect.

        • GatewoodGuy November 8, 2019 (9:45 am)

          This is entirely correct. Zimbabwe et. al are holding tight until tolling starts so they can blame the traffic on that and put out press releases with pablum like “IT’S A GREAT DAY TO TAKE THE BUS!” instead of just telling us what the impact of the reinstallation of the lane has been. But this is the same guy who expects us to believe that SDOT noticed delays to buses “over the summer” when traffic drops off noticeably. 

          • Mto November 8, 2019 (5:56 pm)

            Can you forward me those documents? Thx for your work on this!

        • Shawn November 8, 2019 (10:24 am)

          — “The traffic issues were obvious after the bus lane was configured – that cannot be denied.”– Nobody denied that… but it is wrong to assume, without evidence, that one had anything to do with the other.  But maybe they did!  We don’t, and probably can’t, know that.  Even assuming the slow down was actually caused by the restoration of the bus lane (not addition, it was there the whole time!), even then we are talking about short term effects.  Bus lanes, in the long term, make buses faster and more reliable, which encourages riding the bus, which alleviates traffic, which makes the buses faster, etc.  Likewise no bus lane causes the bus to be slower, which discourages bus riding, which causes people to drive more, which makes traffic worse, etc.  That’s another truth that cannot be denied.

          • Mto November 8, 2019 (3:46 pm)

            This isn’t rocket science!.Before the bus lane went in all traffic flowed more freely. AFTER bus lane went in ALL traffic is backed up…It’s as simple as that!!.

      • The King November 8, 2019 (9:47 am)

        Almost certainly unconstitutional? Like the recent 1639 infringing upon second amendment rights that also had multiple line items. Tax dollars are going to end up challenging a law that has been approved by tax paying voters. Great. Strange way of inclusive, progressive thinking this place has, if we like it, it’s the law, if we don’t like it, it must be unconstitutional, SUE! SUE! SUE! 

        • Nolan November 8, 2019 (11:18 am)

          Spare us.

          Much like every other item in the Bill of Rights, the second amendment is not carte blanche to own and wield every gun everywhere all the time. In fact, it doesn’t guarantee rights outside the context of a militia; the modern interpretation is a recent invention by conservative “activist judges”, but good luck finding conservatives with enough principle to denounce that decision on the basis of originalism or strict constitutionalism.

          • Seriously? November 8, 2019 (12:10 pm)

            Agree or disagree with any of the results of the initiatives, referendums etc. – the people voted. The people decided what they wanted for their state and city. How is that unconstitutional? A government for the people by the people – again – the people voted. The people decided. What is unconstitutional is to sue to veto a democratic vote of the people simply because “you” don’t like the results. If “you” want the results of the elections to go “your” way – get out there and help INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT! The voter turnout in WA, and the US in general, is embarrassing and appalling. Vote. Or. Shut. Up. 

        • Shawn November 8, 2019 (11:44 am)

          I mean… neither of us are lawyers.  We’ll have to see how it goes.  I’m just saying what I’ve heard; that it is going nowhere. Eyeman has, in the past, had a habit of writing unconstitutional initiatives, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it is thrown out. I do agree that this isn’t how this sort of thing should work.  It seems like you should have to show your initiative is constitutional BEFORE it goes on the ballot. Though how to build such a validation system that would actually work in a politically neutral way, I have no idea.

    • Jon Wright November 8, 2019 (10:12 am)

      While I think “Current Configuration Is Saving Time Over The Previous Configuration” is interesting, it isn’t relevant in the big picture, is it? The un-tolled tunnel was a temporary state. What really matters how the bus lane vs. no bus lane configurations compare once tolling begins. I would also want to be clear what metric the various agencies are measuring and working to maximize. Vehicles moved per unit of time or people moved are two very different things. In the case of moving people (which is what think they should be maximizing), relatively small reductions in bus travel time could create significant improvements in overall corridor capacity.

  • newnative November 8, 2019 (8:42 am)

    Shout out to the bus driver that avoided the choke on the Bridge by taking the harbor avenue exit and reentering the bridge from Spokane. He got us there fast! 

  • Sunuva November 8, 2019 (9:56 am)

    I was astounded by how many people were driving around in that thick fog early this morning with NO LIGHTS ON! Seriously dangerous! FYI folks, your Urban Grey Honda Odyssey is practically camouflaged in thick fog at dawn like that. Make sure other drivers can see you please!

  • TJ November 8, 2019 (11:21 am)

    The looming lawsuits against 971 are comical. It was a state wide iniative, and because Seattle and King County aren’t getting their way they want to sue. It’s common knowledge in politics that suing the voters is usually political suicide. This was a rebellion vote against Sound Transit in Pierce and Snohomish counties that are part of that taxing district. Sound Transit now has a fractured base outside if Seattle. This would have all been avoided if Democrats would have fixed the ridiculous valuation scheme. 

    • TSurly November 8, 2019 (1:19 pm)

       What do you care? You are a freeloader that registers your vehicles in Spokane (as you have pointed out in past posts), so you are not impacted by the fee the voters of King, Pierce, and Snohomish county PASSED with ST3. You get to live here and reap the benefits without paying for it.Lawsuit warranted, the  bumpkins outside those three counties can go pound sand (and keep sucking off the Puget Sound welfare teat.)   

  • Bubbasaurus November 8, 2019 (1:39 pm)

    For all of the effort by the city, with the current configuration, they created a bus lane that’s 1/2 a mile long before exiting traffic can move over.  What’s the most time you’re ever going to save? 5 minutes, if traffic is going 5 mph, 3 minutes at 10 mph? The bus already lost that just trying to get to 99.

    • Agreed November 8, 2019 (2:18 pm)

      People in favor of the half mile bus lane won’t be swayed by facts or logic. They act like everyone in favor of the bus lane removal is anti-transit, but the fact is this is just a “feel good” bus lane that doesn’t translate to real, tangible results. Look at Gatewood Guys comments above – it’s factual that cars and buses moved quicker without the bus lane but god forbid you try to reason with actual data. Keep clutching to your half mile lane if it makes you feel better folks. It’s going to get worse for everyone starting next week. PS:  I also find it ironic that everyone is up in arms about i976. Transit riders love car drivers when we’re paying taxes on car tabs and gas, and subsidizing public transportation. Yet they criticize drivers who actually want to drive their vehicles and try to shame us for our choices. Seriously, get over yourselves.  

      • Ice November 8, 2019 (5:01 pm)

        Some guy in a comment section claiming that he saw some data government data that backs his opinion is not fact. There are many man factors that go into what traffic and where it manifests itself. The number one factor of what creates traffic is undeniably how many single-occupancy vehicles there are on the road. I would be absolutely willing to change my mind when I see the data that shows that the bus lane creates a slowdown for everyone, but I require actual proof, not hearsay or emotionally charged opinions fueled by hatred of sitting in traffic. Also, you are clearly not aware of how roads and infrastructure is funded by the state.  Drivers are basically subsidized by people who do not drive. The gas tax hardly pays for anything  because it is so small and everything comes out of a general fund. I drive a car so I am not holier than thou, but if we had a system where the drivers actually paid for the resources that they use,  the space they take up, the pollution they create and the medical expenses that they leave the state with, we’d have a lot more people pick public transit. The expensive tabs in Washington leveled that playing field a little bit, but that’s about to be undone. Look up how the infrastructure funding works, you might be surprised.

  • TJ November 8, 2019 (2:10 pm)

    You are correct, I now register 4 vehicles in Spokane being my son now drives. What benefits am I reaping? I have no plans to ever use a train. I will be out of here by 2030. Sound Transit is a scam. Most people aren’t aware of the failures on their timelines (ST1 isn’t finished not accepting their timeline reset) it cost overruns. It’s a means to a end to justify trying to cram more people here in Seattle in particular. I actually hope the lawsuit wins, as that will put anger over the top outside of Seattle in the Sound Transit jurisdiction, hopefully making any further Sound Transit proposals unrealistic. Originally the word was finish ST3 (not in 2030 for sure)  see where we are, but there are rumblings of them wanting a ST4 by 2025. It’s a mad rush money grab here, like we are in some race against time to get to a finish line that will never end 

    • Little One November 11, 2019 (6:59 am)

      I wish people would realize that the kind of planning, engineering and construction that ST requires in an already developed area is rather complex. Budget and time overruns happen. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at contractors and external parties that take advance of ST by suing them and trying to nickel and dime them. For future generations (and folks living here beyond 2030, thanks for your planned leave TJ), the Puget Sound needs mass transit that doesn’t rely on asphalt roads everywhere. I drive currently, but gosh it’s frustrating. I miss bussing (when it has a reliable route and sufficient buses), but I miss hopping on a train even more (pretty darn reliable). We have to pay for it though and be patient…If Rome wasn’t built in a day, no way in hell will light rail be built in a developed urban environment.

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